California authorities nab ‘Master of Disguise’ after years-long manhunt

A fugitive reportedly known as a “master of disguise” was taken into custody in Newport, California late last month and is expected to be extradited to Hawaii next week.

Gov. Josh Green of Hawaii said in a press release that federal authorities arrested 51-year-old Tyler Adams on Nov. 30, 2023 on a state warrant issued in Hawaii after he failed to return to the Laumaka Furlough Center in May 2019.

At the time, Adams was serving time at the Oahu Community Correctional Center for two felony theft convictions.

The New York Post reported that the convictions were from when Adams stole $130,000 from Hawaiian banks as well as a $5,000 ring from Costco. He had previously served another 7-year sentence in San Diego after using the identities of his parents to run up over $3 million in debt, according to a local CBS station in San Diego, California.

In June 2022, the FBI issued a press release saying the bureau was looking to question Adams in connection with the disappearance and presumed death of his girlfriend, Raquel Sabean, in Mexico after he used an alias to enter the U.S.

Adams had been detained and questioned in Mexico earlier that month, but he left Mexico and entered the U.S. through the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego, California on June 16, the FBI said. He allegedly used a fake name – “Aaron Bain” – and has a history of using aliases, including fake and stolen identities, the FBI said at the time.

Earlier that year, human remains were discovered inside a vehicle that Sabean was known to drive. The body, officials have said, is believed to be that of Sabean, who had a 7-month-old child with Adams.

Sabean and Adams were living in Tijuana, Mexico, but were American citizens when the woman vanished. Adams, authorities said, is believed to be the father of the child, a baby girl.

Investigators first detained Adams in connection with an Amber Alert related to the toddler’s disappearance. The girl was reported missing on June 10 but was later found safe in Mexico.

But Adams was uncooperative when questioned about Sabean, the FBI said.

Several reports describe how Adams is a “master of disguise” who has a criminal history dating back decades.

A local NBC station in Honolulu, Hawaii reported that Adams created numerous fake businesses and opened accounts at the Bank of Hawaii and American Savings Bank in 2009.

He reportedly used fraudulent checks to deposit large sums of money into the accounts and convinced the bankers to make the money available to him immediately.

Adams had several aliases in Hawaii, the station added, such as Kevin Kennedy, Lance Irwin and Michael Whittman – all three names were allegedly those of students at the University of Hawaii law school.

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